Former Trump aide: “Gateway Pundit was one reliable place he knew he could go for validation, and maybe even some new ideas”

An illuminating new Washington Post article explores the MAGA influence of Gateway Pundit and its founder Jim Hoft

Jim Hoft / Gateway Pundit

A January 3 Washington Post article by Sarah Ellison explores the influence of far-right MAGA site Gateway Pundit and its founder, Jim Hoft, whose false claims Media Matters has documented for years.

Ellison expertly examines Hoft's influence in spreading pernicious voter fraud claims, which others in right-wing media build upon. She even quotes Steve Bannon saying that Hoft and Gateway Pundit provide an “infrastructure” for pro-Trump voices to riff on:

The site’s founder, Jim Hoft, who started blogging as a hobby in 2004, is among “the best at creating a right-wing echo system,” right-wing podcast host and former Trump adviser Stephen K. Bannon said in an interview. Hoft did not respond to requests to be interviewed for this report.

Bannon said Hoft is often one of the first to pick up a social media post or a local news story that other right-wing personalities then repeat and aggregate. He “isn’t afraid to take a leading edge where you don’t have all the facts but they are coming together,” Bannon explained. Once Gateway Pundit puts one of its signature all-caps headlines on a story, that provides what Bannon calls an “infrastructure” upon which his own podcast and other right-wing outlets and influencers can build.


In the weeks before he left office in 2021, Trump brandished printouts of Gateway Pundit articles questioning the results of the election, say former aides who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private White House conversations.

“When he was looking for evidence, Gateway Pundit was one reliable place he knew he could go for validation, and maybe even some new ideas,” said one former aide.

The site has been influential in promoting false election fraud theories even though some of the most influential figures on the right say they don’t trust it. One prominent conservative radio host, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of offending political allies, said in an interview that the site’s stories are “bull----.”

Gateway Pundit represents a “a fringe segment of so-called conservative media that’s driven by conspiratorial clickbait to drive revenues to stay afloat,” the host said.

A former Trump administration official who denies that Joe Biden rightfully won the 2020 election nevertheless told The Post in an interview that if you cite Gateway Pundit in an argument, “it means you’ve lost. You can’t use it to make an argument. You can only use it to hear what you want to hear.”

The entire piece is worth reading, specifically to learn how Gateway Pundit has amplified false and misleading claims about voter fraud in Michigan.

With the 2024 election on the horizon, it's worth remembering that the earliest, most viral false claims to arise may well be sourced – directly or indirectly – to Gateway Pundit.